Summer is practically here and and as all of us know, that usually means hot weather in Portland Oregon. To help you stay cool this summer, it might be a really good idea to consider a good Portland Air Conditioning Tune Up.

In addition to help you stay cool, a well maintained system operating in an efficient way can help you save money on electric utility bills. Here we note the most basic service and maintenance procedures that you can do yourself.

REFRIGERATED AIR CONDITIONING

Refrigerated Air Conditioning is most common in areas that are humid such as Portland Oregon. Although control of indoor temperature is more precise and introduction of outside air with associated pollen is minimized, evaporative cooling can produce the same amount of cooling for one-seventh the cost of electricity than refrigerated air-conditioning.

You will be able to minimize your energy usage by proper maintenance and servicing of your air conditioning system. The following actions are recommended:

  1. Examine the fan belts that drive fans on the condenser and house air mover. If they are frayed or worn, replace them. Adjust the tension to allow 1/2″ to 3/4″ depression with moderate force. Do not over tighten, as that would injure the shaft bearings. If your installation has an adjustable pulley on the air mover, be sure the belt is on the smallest diameter to mover the maximum amount of air.
  2. Clean or replace the house fan filter at least monthly. A plugged filter will retard the flow of cold air.
  3. Clean the coils with a commercial coil cleaner. This product is available at refrigeration supply houses and can be applied with a garden insecticide sprayer. Follow the suppliers instructions.
  4. Straighten all of the evaporator and condenser coil fins with a small pointed stick or a special plastic fin comb. Bent fins do not allow proper air distribution.
  5. Oil all motor and shaft bearings with 5 to 10 drops of lightweight machine oil applied in the oil holes near the shaft supports. Rotate the shaft to assure that the oil is distributed over the shaft. Be sure the rotation is smooth. If hard rough spots exist, the bearings need replacement.
  6. If the condenser is at ground level, be sure no vegetation or foreign material is restricting the air flow path. If possible, shade the condenser with trees or bushes, which will improve the cooling efficiency by elimination of direct sunshine.
  7. Be sure the suction or cool line from the condenser to the compressor is insulated with snap-on urethane or other high R-value insulation.
  8. Measure the temperature difference between the warm return air entering the evaporator coil and the coil discharge air into the house with two thermometers. The temperature difference should be a minimum of 12 F to 16 F for satisfactory efficiency, with even higher temperatures preferred. If this test shows a low temperature difference, have a service technician check the refrigerant. The system may need recharging, or perhaps the compressor is malfunctioning.

If you have performed all of these procedures, there is little more than you can do but to call Sunset Heating and Cooling for a professional, thorough tune-up. Your only hope now to reduce your energy bills is try to reduce the heat load on the building and raise the thermostat as high as comfort allows. Keep your windows closed. This is the reverse of the evaporative cooler requirement. Open the windows at night to let the cool night air do the job.

Lastly, never cool the house when no one is home. If your schedule is predictable, a programmable thermostat can be the best solution, so it activates your air conditioning unit just before you arrive.